Eleanor of Aquitaine: By the Wrath of God, Queen of England by Alison Weir


  Strickland, Agnes, 166, 345 Stubbs, Bishop William, 345 Suger, Abbot of Saint-Denis, 22, 23, 25, 30-33, 35, 38, 41-44, 48, 49, 52, 54, 56, 67, 69-74, 84, 378, 379

  Swinburne, Algernon, 166 Sybilla of Anjou, Countess of Flanders, 49

  Taillebourg, Poitou, 25, 222 Taillefer, William, 169 Talmont, Poitou, 14, 16, 25, 38, 96, 316-317

  Tancred of Lecce, King of Sicily, 262-265, 291, 294, 296 Temple Church, London, 181 Tennyson, Alfred, Lord, 349 Tewkesbury, Gloucs., 118 Thaiin, Philippe de, 126 Theobald, Archbishop of Canterbury, 99, 101-103, 141-143, 145, 146, 152, 153, 348

  Theobald IV, Count of Blois and Champagne, 23, 37-44, 50

  Theobald V, Count of Blois, 89, 96, 129, 153, 161, 203, 243

  Theresa of Portugal, Queen of Leon, 319

  Thierry of Alsace, Count of Flanders, 50

  Thomas, poet, 131

  Thomas of Loches, 379

  Thouars, Poitou, 146, 168

  Tickhill Castle, Yorks., 130, 268, 288

  Toledo, Castile, 324

  Torqueri of Bouillon, 49

  Toulouse, City and County of, 10, 13, 14, 37, 101, 150-152, 179, 198, 242, 305

  Touraine, County of, 5, 75, 76, 96, 153, 177, 203, 209, 243, 244, 294, 301, 314-316, 323, 332, 344

  Tours, Archbishop of, 242

  Tours, Cathedral and City of, 7, 75, 89, 93, 204, 209, 244, 258, 269, 316, 320, 333

  440

  Tower of David, Jerusalem, 68 Tower of London, 103, 114, 137, 138, 205, 254, 257, 270 Tracy, William de, 186-188, 190 Treves, Archbishop of, 287 Trieste, Italy, 279 Trifels, Germany, 282, 292 Trihan, Sir William, 246 Troyes, Champagne, 175 Turnham, Stephen de, 297 Turpenay, Abbey of, 316 Tusculum (Frascati), Italy, 71 Tutelle Palace, Bordeaux, 15 Tyre, Outremer, 65

  Urban II, Pope, 10, 11 Urraca of Castile, 324

  Vandreuil, Normandy, 341 Vascoeuil, Sir Gilbert de, 266 Vauquelin, Abbot of Abingdon, 127 Vendome, County of, 76 Ventadour, Limousin, 97 Vermandois, County of, 268 Verneuil, Normandy, 204, 301 Vesci, Sir Eustace de, 233 Vexin, The, France/Normandy, 85, 96, 101, 148, 149, 153, 155, 169, 204, 229, 239, 241, 243, 245, 281, 288, 304, 309, 323, 380 Vezelay, Burgundy, 49, 167, 255, 258 Victoria, Queen of Great Britain, 344

  Vidal, Pierre, 324 Vidal, Ramon, 324 Vienna, Austria, 279 Vieuxpoint, Robert de, 337-338 Vinsauf, Geoffrey de, 267 Vitalis, Ordericus, 50 Viterbo, Italy, 46, 47 Vitry-sur-Marne, Champagne, 40-43, 46, 73

  Vulgrin, Count of Angouleme, 328

  Wace, Robert, 130, 349, 351 Wallingford Castle, Berks., 99, 144, 146, 274, 276, 289

  Walter, Hubert, Archbishop of Canterbury, 282, 288-289, 291, 292, 295, 298, 301, 311, 318, 319, 321, 329, 347

  Walter of Coutances, Archbishop of Rouen, 265, 266, 268-271, 274-276, 278, 280, 281, 288, 293, 295, 296, 298, 301, 302, 316

  Walter of Guisborough, 267, 303

  Walton, Suffolk, 206

  Warenne, Isabella de, Countess of Surrey, 160

  Warwick Castle, Co. Warwick, 99

  Waterford, Ireland, 191

  Wells Cathedral, Somerset, 115

  West Knoyle (Knoyle Odierne), Wilts., 147

  Westminster, Palace of, 100, 103, 106, 109, 120, 124, 127, 128, 132, 136, 137, 144, 147, 158, 159, 163, 180, 236, 249, 253, 278, 280, 297 Westminster Abbey, 103, 106, 160, 180, 253, 318, 329 Westwood, Wilts., 130 Wigmore Castle, Co. Hereford, 268 William, Abbot of Blois, 132 William, Archbishop of Sens, 189 William, Archbishop of Tyre, 64-65, 67, 72, 76-77, 242, 353, 378, 379 William, Bishop of Le Mans, 86 William, Count of Angouleme, 19, 24, 87, 204

  William, Count of Poitiers, 100-102, 144-146, 154-155 William, Earl of Gloucester, 218 William, Prior of Fontevrault, 322 William Aigret of Aquitaine, 14, 17 William II, King of Sicily, 179, 218, 220, 262

  William III, Count of Ponthieu, 304 William III, Duke of Aquitaine, 7 William II "Rufus", King of England, 137

  William I "the Conqueror," King of England, io, 79, 103, 104, 106, 109, in, 114, 115, 122, 128, 130, 137-138

  441

  William IV, Count of Toulouse, 10 William IV, Duke of Aquitaine, 7 William IX, Duke of Aquitaine, 8-16, 25, 48, 183, 317 William "Longwood," Earl of Salisbury, 94, 165 William of Anjou, 78, 145, 160 William of Aquitaine, 145 William of Canterbury, 158, 385, 387 William of Conches, 79, 81 William of Eyrisford, 160 William of Flanders, 212 William of Malmesbury, 78, 382 William of Montmirail, 318 William of Newburgh, 18, 30, 48, 73, 85, 93, 123, 131, 152, 160, 165, 196, 200, 233, 247, 249, 257, 261, 303, 353, 379, 382-391, 393-396, 398-401 William of Orange, Count of Toulouse, 7 William of Saxony, 236, 239, 293 William of Sens, 115 William the Atheling, 12, 19 William the Lyon, King of Scots, 172, 205, 206, 208, 209, 211, 288, 298, 329

  William the Marshal, Earl of Pembroke, xi, 171, 181, 182, 200, 217, 219, 226-228, 230, 244, 246, 248, 250, 288, 311, 318, 341, 345

  William V, Duke of Aquitaine, 7-8, 15

  William VI, Duke of Aquitaine, 8

  William VII, Duke of Aquitaine, 8

  William VIII, Duke of Aquitaine, 8

  William X, Duke of Aquitaine, 10, 13-16, 19-20, 22, 317

  Winchester, Castle, Cathedral and City of, 70, 100, 103, 106, 108, 111, 115, 128, 132, 133, 135-137, 144, 148, 151-152, 156, 160, 163, 167, 169, 190, 195, 207, 211, 212, 216, 218, 223, 232, 236, 237, 240, 248, 250, 255, 274, 280, 298, 350

  Windsor Castle, Berks., 136-138, 146, 147, 216, 237, 251, 255, 270, 274, 288, 289

  Wintreslewe, Manor of, 274

  Wissant, Flanders, 145

  Witham Abbey, Somerset, 123

  Woodstock Palace, Oxon., 78, 126, 140, 147, 158-160, 166, 167, 219, 221, 236

  Worcester, Cathedral and City of, 147, 232

  Worms, Germany, 56, 292, 294

  W├╝rzburg, Germany, 282

  Wyatville, Jeffrey, 139

  Ykenai, mistress of Henry II, 93, 94

  York, City of, and Minster, 115, 117, 118, 144, 251, 252, 256, 272

  Yves, Cardinal, papal legate, 39

  Zengi, Governor of Mosul and Aleppo, 45, 47

  442

  Eleanor of Aquitaine

  Alison Weir

  A Reader's Guide

  443

  A Conversation with Alison Weir

  Sheri Holman grew up in rural Virginia and now lives in Brooklyn, New York. Her novel, The Dress Lodger, was published as part of the Ballantine Reader's Circle in January 2001.

  Sheri Holman: Growing up, Elizabeth I and Eleanor of Aquitaine were two of my very favorite heroines. Was there anything in the writing of The Life of Elizabeth I that made you naturally turn to Eleanor as your next subject?

  AW: There was nothing as such in the writing of Elizabeth I, but I felt its success opened the door to my writing a biography of Eleanor, an idea I had been trying to sell to my publishers for about eight years! I enjoy writing about strong, charismatic women, and Eleanor was, I felt, an ideal choice.

  SH: There have been some marvelous movies made about Henry II--- Becket (starring Richard Burton) and Lion in Winter with Katherine Hepburn and Richard Harris. Had you seen either of these films when you started work on the book, and if so, how well do you think they represented the historical players?

  AW: I first saw Becket and The Lion in Winter on their releases in 1964 and 1968 respectively; I own the video of The Lion in Winter, which I have seen several times, but Becket is not available on video in the U.K., although I used to have a long-playing record of it. I am therefore very familiar with both, and they are great favourites of mine. Given the dramatic licence inherant in any historical dramas, I would say that both films are legitimate treatments of their subjects, if not in the letter, certainly in the spirit. Katharine Hepburn's portrayal of Eleanor in The Lion in Winter is masterful, as is Peter O'Toole's portrayal of Henry II in both films. Richard Burton made a superb Becket. 1 am not so sure about Richard I being portrayed as a homosexual, because there is very little evidence that he was; this view of him tells us more about our own age than about the 12th century. Nor do I think that John was the backward idiot as portrayed in The Lion in Winter. Howe
ver, the treatment of Alys of France is probably very perceptive. And, yes, Eleanor was allowed out of custody to spend Christmas with her family, although we have no record of what went on between them. James Goldman has set his screenplay in an appropriate historical context and used the

  444

  known facts to weave a credible tale. If you haven't seen these films, see them now! They don't make them like this any more!

  SH: You say in your introduction that this book "felt more like a piece of detective work than a conventional historical biography." Can you give us a few examples of snooping? Anything that doggedly eluded you?

  AW: For me, "snooping" meant trawling through piles of ancient chronicles and more modern books in order to extract as m.iuv. snippets of information about Eleanor as I could find. The detective work involved piecing them all together and deciding which sources were the most reliable, especially where there was no corroborating information. There are many things rli.it eluded me and every other person who wants to find out rhc truth about Eleanor: what she really looked like, her relationships with her husbands and chddren, the truth about her rumoured sexual adventures, her reasons for separating from Henry II, her whereabouts and activities during the years in which she merits no mention in the sources, and the true extent of her political powers. The fragments of information ue have do not give us a whole picture, so I have had to infer my conclusions from what is available. I realise that some people may not agree with them.

  SH: How difficult is it to reconcile primary sources that put forward diametrically opposed portraits of Eleanor's character? Were their certain of her contemporaries you tended to trust more, and on what did you base this trust?

  AW: This leads on from my previous answer. If there is no corroborative evidence that lends credence to a source, I have tended to trust those who were near to events and therefore prob.ibk in a position to know, or who knew such people. One must always take into account the prejudices of mediaeval chroniclers, many of whom were monks, and many of whom believed that women were of little importance anyway in God's scheme of Creation, and that females who behaved like Eleanor were an abomination!

  SH: Eleanor has held a lasting fascination for generations of historians. How do you think portrayals of Eleanor have changed to reflect the concerns of the age in which they were written?

  445

  AW: For centuries, portrayals of Eleanor reflected the legends that grew up in her own time and in the century after her death. So powerful were these legends that it was not until the 19th century that historians thought to question them. Before then, Eleanor was seen at best as a shameless adulteress, and at worst as a murderess. In the best mediaeval tradition, her story was used to ram home a moral lesson, a ploy that was still evident in Agnes Strickland's Lives of the Queens of England (1850s). Twentieth century historians found it hard to be objective about Eleanor, and some even drew historical conclusions from the debunked romantic legends. Now we have become obsessed with her sex life, which no doubt reflects the society we live in. Furthermore, we feel obliged to assess Eleanor within the context of fashionable women's issues, which in my opinion is not a legitimate approach when dealing with historical subjects. And we waste endless rivers of ink on post-Freudian analysis of her character and relationships, when not enough is known about them and such an approach is almost certainly inappropriate and could result in wild inaccuracies. Which probably leaves you in no doubt as to where I stand on such issues!

  SH: What do you consider to be the truth behind Eleanor's extramarital affairs? How have past historians dealt with them? Do you think her frank sexuality makes her more appealing to a modern readership?

  AW: We do not know the truth about Eleanor's so-called extramarital affairs, and we probably never will. The conclusions I reached in my book were based on inferences from contemporary sources. Most other late 20th century historians have drawn other conclusions, i.e. that such allegations were fabricated by scandal-mongering chroniclers who were biased against Eleanor anyway. In my opinion, these authors had an exaggerated romantic view of their subject, and I feel we should not ignore what contemporaries were implying.

  SH: Setting aside your historian's cap and thinking like a mother, how do you rate Eleanor's maternal instinct? Did you ever find yourself becoming frustrated by her? Or applauding her behavior?

  AW: We know very little about Eleanor's maternal role, but speaking .is a mother myself, I would have found it hard to endure the

  446

  long separations from my children. Nor do I really approve of mothers having favourites, as Eleanor certainly did. But who are we, in our age, to judge the actions of those who lived in a very different era, with different priorities?

  SH: You've told me that you received an early call to history through the fine historical novel Katherine, by Anya Seton. Do you think well-researched, rigorous historical fiction can be helpful in understanding a person and her period?

  AW: I entirely agree that well-researched historical fiction can be an aid to understanding history. In many cases, it was an historical novel that introduced me to historical persons or periods. There are, however, two problems with this. Firstly, there is very little of this kind of fiction about nowadays; I was told recently it was a very unfashionable genre when I tried to publish a novel about Lady Jane Grey. Secondly, when it was fashionable (in the 60s and 70s), the genre became very debased by poorly researched, tritely written books. There are very few historical novels of the calibre of Anya Seton's Katherine.

  SH: What's next? Will you work your way through the Plantagenets?

  AW: I am due to publish Henry VIII: The King and His Court in June 2001, and am now researching another historical whodunnit, Mary, Queen of Scots and the Murder of Lord Damley. Future tides are now under discussion, but I am keen to write another mediaeval book, possibly on John of Gaunt of Isabella of France. Or perhaps a book about the Tower of London. I have submitted about a dozen ideas to my agent, and I'm bursting to write them all!

  447

  Topics and Questions for Discussion

  1. How responsible do you think Henry was for his sons' disloyalty? What aspects of his personality alienated boys? How responsible was Eleanor in their disaffection?

  2. From the evidence provided here, Eleanor appears to have had many extramarital affairs, and a nearly psycho-sexual hold on her own sons. Did you find the author's arguments convincing? How do you think Eleanor used her sexuality to retain power in a male-dominated world? What would a modern psychiatrist make of this family?

  3. Given what you know about the religious attitudes of the period, how conventional or unconventional do you believe Eleanor was? Were politics or piety responsible for her break with Louis? For her horror at Becket's murder? For her refusal to "take the veil" at Fontverault, even after she had effectively retired from public life?

  4. There is a theme of imprisonment running through this family story. Eleanor and Alys of France were both held captive by Henry; Rosamund was locked away in her secret bower. Discuss how captivity relates to women's condition of the period.

  5. Eleanor and her daughter Marie of Champagne were two of the most influential patronesses of the troubadours. Discuss the ideals and realities of Courtly Love in relation to Eleanor's dealings with the men in her life.

  6 . The author tried to be even-handed when dealing with the controversial issues, such as Richard I's purported homosexuality, or Eleanor's dealings with Rosamund. Do you think she was successful in this? What is the difference between reassessing history and revising it? Do you think a periodic reassessment is necessary to keep history alive?

  7. The author says in her final chapter that Eleanor was considered a wicked queen up until Bishop Stubbs' late-nineteenth century biography. What do you think had changed about society that allowed him to think of a strong woman as heroic? Can one era's portrait of a historical figure be more "true" than any other era's?

  448

  8. How do th
e scandals of the current royal family compare to the scandals of the Plantagenets? What do you think accounts for our endless fascination with royal lives?

  9. Are you familiar with film and dramatic treatments of this story? How will your enjoyment of plays such as King John or Murder in the Cathedral, or films like Lion in Winter or Becket be influenced for having read this historical account?

  10. Do you think Eleanor was a pawn or a power-broker? Is it possible to be both?

  449

  About the Author

  Alison Weir is the author of Britain's Royal Families: The Complete Genealogy, The Six Wives of Henry VIII, Tie Princes in the Tower, The Wars of the Roses, The Children of Henry VIII, and The Life of Elizabeth I. She lives outside London with her husband and two children.

 


 

  Alison Weir, Eleanor of Aquitaine: By the Wrath of God, Queen of England

 


 

 
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